Is bedtime a nightly battle at your house?
My youngest child always complains at bedtime, “But I’m not tired!” A rather normal sentiment for a preschooler. However preschoolers need sleep and a regular bedtime routine.
Gentle Bedtime Routines
1. Bedtime Routine
Preschoolers need a regular bedtime routine. In my house this means a bath before putting on pajamas and brushing their teeth. Next it’s a story and into bed they go. I give a hug, a kiss, and then another hug before turning out the light. Finally there’s a song, or two , or three.
A bedtime routine allows children the opportunity to gradually settle down for the evening. They quickly learn each step and heaven help you if you try to skip a single step. Children love the structure and stability of the same bedtime routine each night.
2. Be Patient
It’s hard for preschoolers to go to bed. There’s a world to explore, books to read, and toys begging to be played with. With so many things to do, how can a child be expected to settle down to sleep? So kids ask for one drink of water, and another, and another, and another. Don’t worry, eventually all children settle down and sleep. It just takes a while, so be patient as the children whimper, whine, and beg.
3. Be Sensitive
Be sensitive to your children’s needs. One child of mine plays on his bed after lights out. We’ll hear him chattering to his toys for several minutes before he lays down and goes to sleep. Disrupting his quiet play time actually keeps him awake longer. Sometimes children develop little routines to help themselves settle down for sleep. Be sensitive to these routines.
4. Stay Outside the Door
Young preschoolers don’t settle down into bed naturally. The moment they’re left alone, they jump out of bed and search the house for mommy. It’s a common occurrence. If this happens in your house, stay outside the door. Work on the computer, pray, or march in place. Teaching your children to stay in bed at bedtime takes time but is well worth the time and effort.
5.Take your time
Bedtime routines take time. Children want attention after a day of playing. They don’t want you to rush them through the routine so you can get on to important stuff, they want to know they are important. Schedule plenty of time into your day to settle the children into bed and make it a priority. Your children will enjoy spending time with you.
Bedtime routines should be a relaxing time for you and your children. You and your children can chat, catch up, and enjoy a few moments together at the end of the day.
It’s a time of peace in a busy world.
What is your best tip for a gentle bedtime routine for preschoolers?